Thursday, October 14, 2010

Society needs education, not the ACJC girls

(Unpublished - Oct 9, 2010)

I refer to the report concerning the toilet-sex video in ACJC.

This throws up many issues in need of addressing.

Firstly, we have to continually emphasise the importance of cyber wellness and warn against abuses of technology. This is a challenge we are already well acquainted with.

Secondly, we need to address two separate but occasionally overlapping issues – teenage affection and same-sex affection. We have to address them with respect to ourselves as we exert influence on them too.

We cannot remain blind to teenage affection. Discouraging or condemning it does not help.

Instead, we should empower our young to be responsible, respectful and body-confident. This is regardless of the nature of affection, opposite or same sex.

As a Singaporean, I am increasingly exasperated when public officials, specialists and experts are quoted to be saying that Singaporeans “are not ready”, or in this case referring to teenage same-sex affection as “something society may not accept yet.”

This rhetoric is an excuse for inactivity, as we let our prejudices and ignorance fester.

This particularly does not help address same-sex affection.

Some of us are held ransom by archaic norms, and duped into believing that affection exclusively belongs to the domain of heterosexual adults.

Some of us are too preoccupied with judging the morality and “naturalness” of others’ actions, that we bankrupt ourselves of the empathy and the opportunity to help the concerned individuals be responsible, safe and confident as they are.

There is thus a disregard for teenage affection and same-sex affection. These domains are trivialised and condemned. Information for wellness and empowerment does not reach the individuals involved.

We cannot ignore, trivialise or condemn teenage relationships and affection.

I believe that education for the young is only a fraction of the problem.

If the rampant ignorance and prejudicial attitudes concerning the young is anything to go by, the rest that is adult Singapore is in dire need of education.

We are too preoccupied with our respective self-righteous plans for ideological domination and homogeneity, that we become blind to and also fearful of changes and challenges to our prejudices.

Psychologists have been reigned in to explain changing phenomena, but I believe it is high time political scientists and sociologists are brought into the picture to reflect on the attitudes and insecurities of an adult population that believes it knows better.

Ho Chi Sam

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